Understanding light (how much, how little, or what kind) is critical to growing plants indoors successfully, whether seedlings, house plants, vegetables, herbs, or succulents. You can learn about light and how to build simple do-it-yourself grow lights for seed starting by consulting "Gardening Under Lights" by Leslie F. Halleck, reviewed here by Susan Wilhelm.
New Landscaping Ideas that Work by landscape architect Julie Moir Messervy breaks the design process into parts and showing how each part contributes to a landscape that meets a homeowner’s specific needs and goals. Read more of EMG Susan Wilhelm's review.
Fall is the optimal time to plant trees and shrubs in Northern Virginia. If you are interested in planting native trees or shrubs, Essential Native Trees and Shrubs for the Eastern United States: The Guide to Creating a Sustainable Landscape, by Tony Dove and Ginger Woolridge, is a helpful resource to determine which native trees or shrubs will succeed in your garden. Read more of EMG Susan Wilhelm's review.
If reading about (or visiting) native plant gardens has whetted your appetite for growing native plants in your own yard (or on your patio or balcony), you will enjoy this book review of Native Plants of the Southeast by Larry Mellichamp.
At the time Vegetables Love Flowers: Companion Planting for Beauty and Bounty was published in 2018, author Lisa Mason Zeigler had been operating a commercial cut -flower farm in Newport News, Virginia, for 19 years. Her cut flower beds are interspersed among her vegetable beds. She does not use pesticides. Instead, she has worked over time to build a garden eco-system which relies on natural processes to grow strong, healthy vegetable plants and gorgeous flowers for cutting.
If you have ever been tempted to purchase one of those seed packages promising an instant meadow garden, you will benefit from doing a little research first. One of the sources you might consult is Sowing Beauty—Designing Flowering Meadows from Seed by James Hitchmough.
Book Review of Life in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners by James B. Nardi. - Thanks to Master Naturalist Kathleen Luisa for sharing her article.
"This is one of the best, most thorough and most completely enjoyable books I've read on, well, dirt."
Interested in growing vegetables but lack space or are concerned your local homeowner association will frown on edible landscaping? If so, The Foodscape Revolution — Finding a Better Way to Make Space for Food and Beauty in Your Garden by Brie Arthur may help.
The Art of Gardening—Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer by R. William Thomas and others, is the next best thing to actually visiting Chanticleer Garden (Chanticleer), an amazing public garden in Wayne, PA. Filled with fabulous photographs and detailed descriptions, the book is both inspirational and practical.
lanting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West (2015) provides concrete advice for designing, planting, and managing sustainable landscapes based on what we know about how plants grow in nature. While written for professional landscape designers, it is full of ideas and practical tools for anyone interested in sustainable landscaping.
American Botanical Paintings: Native Plants of the Mid Atlantic, a recently published book intended for both artists and gardeners, was created by a local nonprofit group, Botanical Artists for Education & the Environment. This group is composed of botanical artists who participated in painting classes offered by Anne-Marie Evans in Falls Church, VA. The BAEE undertook the publication project with the intention of stimulating an appreciation of native plants and encouraging their use in home landscaping. The introductory text includes a contribution from the renowned entomologist Dr. Douglas Tallamy on the vital role of native plants in local ecosystems.
Members of the 2015 Master Gardener training class and proctors supporting the class recently had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Smithsonian horticulturist James Gagliardi on herbaceous plant selection and usage. Those who were not able to attend the lecture can still benefit from his knowledge in a book to which he was a major contributor. Smithsonian Encyclopedia of Garden Plants for Every Location, a 2014 Dorling Kindersley publication, features information on over 3,000 plants.
While it’s time to put many of our garden beds to rest for the winter, some gardeners may enjoy perusing Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable Gardening by Katie Elzer-Peters to help them plan their plantings of edibles for the spring growing season.
In Paradise Lot, two self-described plant geeks, Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates, tell the charming story of their efforts to build a backyard food forest in the city using permaculture practices which had been implemented successfully in Europe and the tropics.
Book Reviews: Powerhouse Plants by Graham Rice, and Derek Fell's Grow This!
Book reviews: Beautiful No-Mow Yards by Evelyn Hadden, The Edible Front Yard by Ivette Soler, and Why Grow That When You Can Grow This? by Andrew Keys